Avalanche to enter 12U squad in Triple Crown | ParkRecord.com

Avalanche to enter 12U squad in Triple Crown

The Park City Avalanche 12U squad gets together during a tournament in Cooperstown, New York, earlier this year.

When the Triple Crown 10U and 12U baseball World Series roll into town next week, one team won’t have to travel anywhere at all.

The Triple Crown tournaments drew 66 teams from 10 different states to Park City last year. This year, the Park City Avalanche will be competing in their hometown in the 12U age group.

The 12U Avalanche squad, featuring 12 boys and one girl, is no stranger to big tournaments, as the players have competed in a couple this year already.

"What it boils down to is we, as Park City, get an automatic bid to play in this," 12U Coach Mike Stokes said. "Really, it was just a no-brainer. We’ve played in multiple tournaments this year already, including one in Cooperstown, New York."

Stokes said the Avalanche want to have fun and represent Park City well in the process. He said the team will try to use its cohesiveness to its advantage.

"This is the second season we’ve been together. These are all Park City kids, which is really important to me," he said. "These are the future players for our high school. They’re all great kids. At that Cooperstown tournament, we all stayed in the same dorm and they had a blast. They really built great relationships with each other. That’s kind of our biggest strength right now."

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Stokes added that playing together for multiple years makes the players more comfortable with each other.

"The kids are used to playing with one another," he said. "They know where to be and how this kid throws vs. this kid. They’ve learned to play together as a team."

The Avalanche are in for some tough games, Stokes said, but the players will greatly benefit from playing stronger competition.

"This one is going to be a pretty competitive tournament," he said. "A lot of the teams will bat nine and play nine players. In a lot of tournaments, we’d bat 12 players and rotate our defense quite a bit."

Now, playing against teams of All-Stars from baseball havens like California and Arizona, Stokes hopes the Avalanche use the tournament as a chance to grow even closer as a team.

With such strong competition from all around the West, Stokes isn’t expecting to win the tournament. But, he added, he hopes to see the local squad turn in some great efforts.

"Are we going to be one of the top competitive teams? No," he said. "But the thing is, we’re there to teach the kids to play the right way and prepare them to play at the next level. We want to compete every pitch of every game and hopefully we’ll win a few games in the process. We’re guaranteed five games. If you can win two or three of those, that’s great. If you can get a sixth game, that’s even better."

The Park City Avalanche will play in the 12U tournament in Park City beginning July 20 and ending on July 25. For more information on the Park City Avalanche baseball programs, visit http://www.parkcitybaseball.org .